If you are going to spend your Christmas holyday in central Italy, you’ll have plenty of options to pick from; usually even small and mediums size towns and villages organise nice and bright Christmas markets, so wherever you are you’ll be able to spend an evening enjoying the busy stands and the cool atmosphere. But we are on Itinari here, so let me give you few suggestions!
Christmas markets are often a conversation topic among me and my friends around this time of the year; some say they are the perfect place to find those last two presents you need, usually for me for my uncle and my grandma, and to spend a chill afternoon looking at funny and unlikely presents while sipping some hot, spicy wine. Some others instead see them just as another example of the inherent consumerism that the Christmas period carries along with it. I tend to agree with the latter opinion but when it's 17:00 on the 23rd and, obviously, I haven’t finished getting presents, I have to set the philosophy aside and hope the Christmas market Gods thought about me and were benevolent.
Spoleto’s Christmas market is a good idea if you are in Umbria. The town is only a 30 minute drive away from the region’s biggest city, Perugia, and offers visitors and locals the chance to enjoy the many stalls, filled with artisan creations, while walking inside the beautiful Leti Sansi Palace. Plus, if you travel with children, you can let them ride the “Santa’s train” and enjoy the childrens' activities set up in the “Kid’s square”.
Macerta’s “Jar Market” is another interesting option. It takes place during every second week throughout the year, but in December it's open every weekend and it is a great place to find antiques, artisan products, and typical food. It has taken place since 1995 in Macerata’ s historic centre. Vendors and sellers filled the city’s streets, squares (Piazza della Libertà and Piazza Cesare Battisit) and arcades, creating a perfect Christmas mood.
If you already had the chance to travel in Italy during the Christmas period, I am sure you have heard about and seen the typical Italian tradition of “presepe”. It consists in recreating the Nativity Scene usually using little statues and puppets. You'll find one in almost any Italian house; if you want to visit the birthplace of this custom, you should visit the town of Greccio. Here the first “presepe” was set up in 1223 by Saint Francis of Assisi and nowadays the tradition is still going. Greccio is also considered one of Italy’s most outstanding villages so it would definitely be a worthy trip.
Now you know where you can find some characteristic Christmas markets in Central Italy. Have fun and “buone feste”!
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